Following a Warwickshire Police investigation, three men have been jailed for county lines drug dealing in Rugby.
Ruben Alexandre Viegas Simao, aged 30, Mario Alberto Periera, aged 26 and Alex Migel Goncalves Cid, aged 21, all from Portugal, all appeared at Warwick Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 22 August).
On 12 March this year, officers from Rugby's Offender Management Unit (OMU) responded to intelligence that Portuguese nationals from Peterborough were involved in 'county lines' drug dealing in Rugby. County lines dealing involves gangs transporting drugs from bigger cities into smaller towns.
The information suggested the group had been using hire cars and staying in local hotels. Following enquiries, officers located a black Range Rover Evoque linked to the suspects at a hotel in Dunchurch.
With the support of the Tasking Team, officers stopped the Range Rover (which had left the hotel) on Dunchurch Road. The driver - Simao - was searched and cash and mobile phones were located. He was subsequently arrested for being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
It was then found that two other men had also left the hotel in a taxi at the same time as Simao, and had travelled to a different hotel in Rugby.
Police attended the location and found Periera and Cid walking out, having just checked in. Their room was searched and crack cocaine and heroin were hidden in the toilet bin, along with more cash. Both men were arrested.
The drugs were later forensically tested and valued to be worth the street value of £16,010, with the cash seized worth over £3000.
All three men were later charged and remanded.
Yesterday, they were sentenced after pleading guilty to supplying class A drugs. They were given:
Ruben Alexandre Viegas Simao - five years and four months
Mario Alberto Periera - five years and eight months
Alex Migel Goncalves Cid - four years and six months
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Robert Garrison from Warwickshire Police said: "Officers from Rugby OMU proactively develop and manage local intelligence to focus on those causing the most harm to the community of Rugby.
"This case resulted in a significant seizure of Class A Drugs, which has prevented a possible large scale supply developing within our town.
"I hope this highlights how seriously we treat these offences and how we will work behind the scenes to pursue those involved."
#Protect is a campaign being run by Warwickshire Police alongside a range of partner agencies to tackle serious and organised crime (SOC). The broad-ranging operation covers four key areas of activity: